Larkin breezes past rival Elgin

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Utilizing a chip-and-race attack, Larkin breezed past Elgin for a 5-1 victory Tuesday in a crosstown rivarly that also doubled as an Upstate Eight Conference River Division game.

Unfortunately for the Maroons, they didn’t heed the pregame warnings of coach David Borg.

“We knew they were going to keep sending their forwards and we allowed them to get into position (to score), so we laid an egg,” Borg said. “They capitalized on our mistakes, but then we don’t give ourselves enough chances. If we ever respond, it’s a different game, but in the end we simply have to score.”

Wearing their home white uniforms, Larkin got on the board just 9:02 into the first half when Hector Mendoza’s through-ball was taken in stride by Griffen Perez for a 16-yard blast from the right side that Maroon goalkeeper Flavio Jaimes partially blocked into the air before the momentum carried the ball into the net.

The Royals, who improved to 7-4-3 (2-1-1 in the UEC River), made it 2-0 just 22 seconds later when Perez got just enough of a head flick to spring Chris Villalobos for a breakway and 19-yard left-footer.

Elgin (5-7-3, 0-4) cut the deficit to a goal with 11:02 left before halftime when Zachary Erickson set up Robert Martinez for a seven-yard finish from the right side. However, less than two minutes elapsed before Mendoza earned his second assist, feeding Gonzalo “Poncho” Garcia for an 18-yard laser from the right wing to restore the two-goal cushion.

“I saw my teammates breaking open and a midfielder’s job is to get assists. I’m happy they finished both chances so that we had the first goal and got the two-goal lead back before halftime,” Mendoza said. “And beating our rivals is one of the best feelings in the world.”

“I thought we had some real nice strikes offensively, which was good because we’ve had a tendancy to play with the ball too much,” Larkin coach Ken Hall said. “We had nice through-balls and long balls. Defensively, I think one of the least noticed players is Tito (Velazquez). He does a great job as our center back and he calms everything down back there. Having him for four years means I’’m really going to miss him.”

While Elgin started the second half taking a number of shots, the Maroons never found the back of the net as Larkin’s Aldair Dominguez took over at goalkeeper from Javy Delgaldo to preserve the win.

With 27:33 left, Diego Ramirez started another breakaway, sending the ball to the right wing where Garcia got control and crossed the ball to Kevin Ellis for a 4-1 lead. Six minutes later, Garcia cut back to the middle to elude one defender and then juked another to nail a 15-yarder to complete the scoring.

“On the last goal, I had one person to beat and saw he was a little flat-footed and used that to get by him and having tested the keeper with my first goal, I knew I could finish the last one,” Garcia said, expressing extra satisfaction at having gone 3-0-1 against Elgin during his career. “No team is easy and while you want to beat them all, it feels great to always get past your rival.

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